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News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization. 
EST. September 1995

Community Link Projects

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Gray Alliance is a group for LGBT seniors and their allies, and we get together twice a month for social functions.

We have a potluck the final Sunday of each month at First Congregational Church Fireside Room from 2-4 pm. It’s located at the south end of the church campus at 2131 N Van Ness Blvd in Fresno. Please note that although we are using a church facility, Gray Alliance has no religious affiliation.

The second Wednesday of the month month at 6 pm we meet at different restaurants. Here’s a list of the next three restaurants we’re going :

June 12, Fasika Ethiopian, 4712 N Blackstone, Fresno
July 10, Olive Garden, 389 Shaw Ave, Clovis
August 14, Kaya Korean, 4151 N Blackstone, Fresno

If you have any questions, please feel free to call Linda Schinkel at 559-356-7220 or John Richardson at 559-260-1565. Hope to see you soon!

Youth Alliance News May 2019

May arrived with continued spring weather, including an explosive thunder and lightning storm that reminded mid-west folks of their roots! Wasn’t that storm fantastic? We’re hoping the moderate spring weather will stretch into the first of June, the date of Fresno’s 29th Annual LGBTQ Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival! Wouldn’t it be nice to have an 85-degree day for Pride this year? Let’s petition the gods and goddesses for a cool weekend on June 1!

For our LGBTQ Youth Alliance members the month of May heralds the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation! In preparation for summer vacation, we spent a recent Friday evening talking about vacation travels our youth have experienced, both good and bad. Most of our participants were able to describe a travel experience with their family that they enjoyed, and all of our members talked about travel experiences that they wish they hadn’t experienced! In fact, we spent so much time talking about past travel experiences that we didn’t have a chance to describe travel destinations we hope to take in the future!

Our fearless leader, Rachel AKA Banana continues to miss group in order to fulfill requirements for her new job. Elder David has been running the group, with visits from our Grand Poobah, Jeffery Robinson. The kids keep asking when Banana is coming back to run group! Let’s hope that Elder David isn’t emotionally scarred by the constant requests for Banana! We’ll just have to hope that Banana returns soon!

Our Grand Poobah, Jeffery, spent a recent Friday night talking about the Stonewall riots that occurred in June, 1969, in New York, which sparked the annual celebration of LGBTQ Pride that takes place worldwide in the


month of June. A few of our members were aware of the story, but most of our youth were unaware of the history of Pride month, so it was great that Jeffery came to group and shared the story! The members of the youth group seemed genuinely interested in the history lesson!

In the next few weeks, our group needs to focus on our participation in the Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival that’s coming up! We always have a team that marches in the parade, and then we run a booth in the festival that’s called the Sweet Spot. Our theme for the Pride Parade this year is “2GETHER We Riot,” our attempt to remind people about the Stonewall riots. At the festival, Our Sweet Spot will sell baked goods and handmade items in order to raise money for our youth group! We need everyone to buy our sweets so that we can keep our youth group going!

We save the last Friday of the month for our world-famous potluck! We often see youth at our potluck who don’t attend group the rest of the month! That’s OK! In fact, it’s great to see them and it’s an opportunity for everyone to catch up on what they’ve been doing! On Potluck Friday, we don’t talk ask questions and share answers—we just eat and chat! Because Potluck Fridays are just social nights,

they’re a great time for newcomers to join the group!

The Fresno LGBTQ Youth Alliance meets on Friday nights, at 7 PM, in the Fireside Room of the First Congregational Church (The Big Red Church), located at 2131 N. Van Ness, in Fresno. We welcome any and all LGBTQ youth and their allies, ages 14-25, to join us on Friday nights! Check out our Facebook page for reminders about the group! We usually post a reminder about the group meetings on Friday mornings! Just go to our Facebook page, “Fresno GLBTQ (yes, in that order) Youth Alliance,” to check it out!



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Fresno, CA – At last night’s 2019 Central California Women’s Conference Community Celebration and Grant Reception, the CCWC Board announced that world-renowned television producer, model, and author; Tyra Banks; will keynote this year’s event.


Tickets go on sale Monday, June 3, for the 32nd Annual Central California Women’s Conference. This day of inspiration, empowerment and growth is the largest women’s event in the region and will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.


Tyra Banks is an icon for empowering women of all ages and is now the CEO of her own self-titled entertainment company. Tyra believes that “perfect is boring and human is beautiful,” and has been ranked by Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential people.


Banks began her diverse career as a supermodel at 15 after she was rejected from six American agencies where she was told that African-Americans aren’t on magazine covers. So she moved to Paris to begin her storied modeling career and the rest is history. She has accomplished many firsts in the industry -- one of the original Victoria’s Secret Angels, the first woman to appear on the cover of GQ Magazine, and the first African-American woman to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.


Banks is the creator and executive producer of the hit show America’s Next Top Model, which is the longest-running fashion-based, reality competition TV show to date, at 24 straight seasons. It is viewed in 150 countries and ANTM has 25 international versions that span from Asia's Next Top Model to Europe’s Next Top Model. She is responsible for several iconic moments of empowerment and entertainment on her former talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, for which she won two Emmys. Banks is also the former host of America’s Got Talent.


When she is not on camera, Banks still keeps beauty and entertainment at the forefront of her actions. The Tyra Banks Company works to invest in start-up companies that are either led by females or are female-focused. Within her entrepreneurship developments is also TYRA Beauty, a one-of-a-kind cosmetic line which was developed shortly after she graduated from the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School.


Banks also holds a passion for her non-profit organization called the TZONE Foundation, which empowers young women to help them realize their ambitions and approach life’s challenges with fierce determination. The Foundation focuses on five core pillars: entrepreneurship, financial literacy, elocution and self-presentation, health and wellness, and self-esteem, beauty and body image.


Most recently, Banks has taken on the role of visiting college professor for the 2017 and 2018 Spring semesters at Stanford Business School, speaking on the subject of personal branding. She has also released a book she co-wrote with her mom titled Perfect is Boring, encouraging women to have real conversations about beauty, booty and being a boss. She has shared her inspirational story of pregnancy blues to encourage others along their journey and is now the proud mother of a son.


“On behalf of our board, we are delighted Tyra agreed to keynote CCWC 2019,” says CCWC board president, Nene Casares. “She is a role model for us all. I’ve heard her speak before and I can’t wait for our attendees to hear her hilarious, moving and poignant message. Tyra Banks is so much more than just her iconic beauty!”


The theme of this year's CCWC is Breaking Boundaries. Attendees will celebrate their accomplishments and be inspired to push further in life to reach goals they thought unattainable within their careers, relationships, and, most importantly, their own personal growth.


In keeping with the Breaking Boundaries theme, the morning Warm-Up Session kicks off the conference by honoring 20 under-served young women who will receive the Wells Fargo/CCWC College and Career Preparation Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of need, promise and the students' commitment to create positive change. Also in attendance at the conference will be the five AT&T/CCWC/Central California Education Opportunity Center (CCEOC) Re-Entry Scholars.


Attendees will then hear motivational speaker Jen Bricker. Bricker is also a professional gymnast who toured as an aerialist with Britney Spears and is a State Champion power tumbler, despite the fact that she was born without legs. At birth, she was left at the hospital by her biological parents but was adopted by a loving family which taught her to “never say the word, can’t.”  Bricker’s New York Times best-selling book entitled Everything is Possible tells her extraordinary life story. 


Attendees choose three breakout sessions to attend throughout the day from 21 options. Topics include career development, health and fitness, money and finance, relationships, courage, service and activism, and strength and change. “This year’s lineup is so diverse and rich in valuable information,” said Casares. “Our board and team couldn’t be more excited about the day we have planned for our attendees. This unforgettable conference will be a day of information, networking, fun, great food, and ‘retail therapy’ for the hard-working women of this Valley.”


Attendees also have the opportunity to visit the conference Marketplace and Community Corner where more than 175 businesses and nonprofits share information about their products and services. Visitors will be treated to samples, gourmet tastings, information, and shopping. “There’s really no other event like this in the Valley,” said long-time conference-goer June Boyce. “I love it – I come at 7:15 a.m. and leave at 5:30 p.m. and I really feel pampered all day long - this is an event you’d expect in New York or LA, but it’s right here in Fresno!”


This fulfilling day will come to a close with the Cool-Down Session where women enter to win prizes, relax and have a laugh with this year’s speaker Debi Gutierrez. Gutierrez is your everyday mom, wife, and friend, but with an explosive sense of humor. She is a one-of-a-kind comedian, who loves to take her audience on a high-energy, heart-warming roller coaster, talking about her life experiences, both good and bad. There’s no question why her nationwide television audience loves her so much. She lives for her family, her friends, and making people laugh.


Like last year, this year's event is expected to be an exceptionally early sellout. Tickets go on sale on Monday, June 3, and are $125 each. Ticket price will increase to $140 on August 16. Admission includes continental breakfast, all seminars, the celebrity keynote speaker luncheon and the afternoon reception. Tickets are limited to the first 3,500 attendees. Early registration is encouraged. Visit for tickets and additional information.


The conference is made possible through the support of national and Central Valley businesses. The presenting sponsor is Community Medical Centers. Founding sponsors are The Fresno Bee and ABC 30. Saint Agnes Medical Center is the Keynote Speaker Sponsor. Major sponsors include Wells Fargo; Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino; Valley Children’s Healthcare: Bank of America; AT&T; Kaiser Permanente, Fresno; Fresno Smile Makeovers; Fresno State; Nor Cal Acura Dealers; Chevron; Macy’s; Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitor’s Bureau; UCSF Fresno; The Wonderful Company; The Brownie Baker, Inc.; Cumulus Broadcasting; FTB Print & Mail; Univision Radio; Deli Delicious; Pepsi; and many more.


Sponsorships and exhibit booths are still available. For sponsorship information contact Jan Edwards; for exhibit booth information contact Mary Stabelfeld at .


More information about the conference and speakers is available at



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Lakeside Camping


GSA Activist Camp is a three-day, (June 14th- June 16th) overnight youth-led training camp for trans, queer, and allied youth where you will learn about power, oppression, and how to build the LGBTQ+ youth movement!


  1. Be a young person between the ages 14-18 attending middle school, high school, or alternative school during the 2018-2019 school year. We will also accept young people aged 18 or under who are not in school due to personal circumstances

  2. Commit to creating change for LGBTQ+ youth and fight for racial and gender justice

  3. Bring an open mind to camp and prepare for self-reflection and new or challenging conversations on identity, race, gender and sexuality, class, ability, and other experiences.

If you know of any young people who would benefit from this camp please encourage them to apply the dead line is May 12th 2019. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 


Note: This is a free camp GSA Network will pay for Train Tickets

Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network

direct: 559-268-2780

p: 415.552.4229 | f: 415.552.4729

Photo: NOEMS

Even more important, they're making sweeping changes to make the department more inclusive for both employees and residents.
Bil Browning
Reposted from


The City of New Orleans’ Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) has announced that employees will wear commemorative pride badges to honor the LGBTQ community and allies who “serve with Pride.”

Officials have also announced sweeping changes to better serve the community and their LGBTQ co-workers. They say the badges represent their commitment to:

  • Educate our providers on LGBTQ+ related emergency health conditions, healthcare disparities, and respectful practices when caring for homosexual and transgender patients

  • Conduct LGBTQ+ related sensitivity training for all staff, including teaching management and support for transitioning employees

  • Develop policies and nondiscrimination protections that include gender identity and sexual orientation

  • Develop transparent complaint-handling procedures (both internally and externally) that deal with concerns the same way regardless of age, race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, or ability

  • Appoint an LGBTQ+ individual to serve as liaison between community members and NOEMS regarding LGBTQ+ matters; and

  • Work with local partners to ensure that LGBTQ+ patients have positive pre-hospital healthcare experiences in the City of New Orleans.

“Nationally, there are few agencies that have unique policies and processes in place for LGBTQ+ EMS providers,” Lt. Jonathan C. Fourcade told LGBTQ Nation. “New Orleans EMS is working to enhance what is currently available and being innovative in our approach to the unique needs of our first responders as well as those in the community.

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A court ordered a mother to dress her trans daughter as a boy, use "he" pronouns, and avoid conversations about gender. That nightmare is finally over.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a court can order parents to provide counseling and other treatment for transgender kids, even if one parent isn’t supportive. The court also ruled that a family court had overstepped in ordering parents to treat their transgender daughter like a boy.

The ruling said that courts can intervene if the child is “at risk for physical danger or

significantly impaired emotionally,” a higher legal standard than “the best interests of the child.”

The case that led to the ruling involved a divorced heterosexual couple – identified as Paul E. and Courtney F. in court documents – who have three children together. After their divorce, they got joint legal decision-making authority and equal time with their kids, with Paul getting final authority over their children’s medical and educational decisions.

One of their children, L., made is known at around age 5 that she identifies as a girl. Her mother supported her and let her wear female clothing to school without telling her father.

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"Children in second grade simply do not have the tools to comprehend sexuality, nor do we want them to. Let’s let kids be kids."
Alex Bollinger
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Parents in the Rocklin School District in California kept 700 students from going to school last Friday to protest a school board decision about LGBTQ curricula.

Last week, the school board voted in favor of an elementary school curriculum to comply with California’s FAIR Education Act, which requires schools to teach about historical

Legs in Jeans

figures who were LGBTQ, disabled, and members of racial minorities.

The curriculum, called “Studies Weekly,” discusses historical figures and mentions their sexual orientation or their advocacy of LGBTQ rights.

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The vice principal won his appeal to get back to his job, even though he has "shown a troubling lack of remorse."
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from


Vice principal Lee Livengood is back on the job after he demanded a transgender teenager pee in front of him late last year.

The Harrison County Board of Education in West Virginia voted to reinstate Livengood after he appealed a decision to remove him. The ACLU of West Virginia, though, is worried that the board hasn’t taken the necessary steps to ensure that a similar incident will not happen again.

Last month, the same board voted not to renew his contract for next year after its three-year probationary period ends. The board did not say that their decision to not renew his contract was at all related to the incident with the transgender student.

Superintendent Mark Manchin said that “a lot of discussion” took place before the board voted to reinstated Livengood at yesterday’s meeting.

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They have been fighting LGBTQ youth suicide for two decades with a phone line. Now they're reaching out to Generation Z.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from

The Trevor Project is expanding its services by opening up 24-hour chat and text counseling services.

The organization has been fighting LGBTQ youth suicide with a hotline since 1998. Their phone line is already available 24/7, but they previously only offered text and chat support from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

With financial help from AT&T, the Trevor Project will be better able to reach young people today, people who grew up with smartphones. The Trevor Project cites a third-party evaluation of its services that found that 63% of young people who used its text and chat services did so because they “felt like it was easier to be themselves.”

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David McGee

A Fort Wayne, Indiana high school intended to dead-name a transgender student at his graduation based on an unwritten school standard. The school had allowed Wyatt Thomas to go by his preferred name for three years but was going to deny its use on his diploma and his announcement at graduation. But Wyatt’s dad went online to, asking people to sign a petition to allow Wyatt to use his preferred name. Brian Thomas quickly gathered over 14,000 signatures on the petition and the school reversed its decision, allowing Wyatt’s preferred name to be used for graduation. Both Brian and Wyatt Thomas were thankful for all of the support

they received. 




David McGee

Reportedly, President Trump spends “executive time” thinking up insulting nicknames 
for his political opponents. He’s referred to “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, “Crazy Bernie” Sanders, and “Pocahontas” for Elizabeth Warren. The press seems to enjoy repeating his digs. He recently referred to presidential nominee, Pete Buttigieg as “Alfred P. Newman,” hailing back to a character that appeared often on the cover of Mad Magazine in the 70’s and 80’s.

Buttigieg shrugged off the insult by saying, “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that. I guess it’s just a generational thing. I don’t get the reference. It’s kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.”

Buttigieg’s response painted the president as ineffective as well as old and out-of-touch. In responding as he did, Buttigieg demonstrated that he’s not going to let Trump’s insults get to him and that he can come up with savvy responses to the President’s dated insults. 


David McGee


The city of San Antonio, Texas, recently denied Chick-Fil-A a vendor space at its airport because of the fast-food chain’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Conservative lawmakers introduced a bill to undo the decision. House Bill 3172 sought to prohibit cities and government entities from taking action again businesses that espouse religious convictions. 

An openly gay freshman member of the Texas house derailed the bill this week, stating that her goal was to end the discrimination against the LGBT community of Texas. Conservative lawmakers have vowed to continue their effort to force the state of Texas to allow vendors the right to deny services to LGBT consumers based on religious beliefs.


David McGee


According to the Movement Advancement Project, an independent think tank that provides research and insight into LGBT issues, there are 15 states in the US that still do not have non-discrimination laws in place in order to protect LGBT employees from being fired or discriminated against for being LGBT. Those states are Virginia, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 


David Reddish
Reposted From

Exciting news in the fight against HIV/AIDS: drug manufacturer Gilead has announced it will release its patent on the anti-HIV drug Truvada a year early.

The news came via an announcement from AIDS activist Peter Staley via Facebook. “Gilead reached an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2014 to allow the early launch of a generic version of Truvada into the market in 2020, a year earlier than required,” the post said. Staley had learned of the news in an email from Douglas M. Brooks, Gilead’s executive director for community engagement. Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals produces a number of generic drugs for use in the US and around the world. Teva will obtain the exclusive rights to produce generic Truvada for one year beginning in September 2020. One year later, the formula will become available to other drug manufacturers as well.

Prescription Drugs
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Today, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized long-awaited rules that would allow health care workers to refuse treatment based on “moral convictions.” In response, DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta and DNC Women’s Media Director Elizabeth Renda issued the following statement:


“Access to health care can be life-or-death. But rather than seek to improve our health care system, the Trump-Pence administration is determined to strip away access to health care from women, people with HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. This license to discriminate is unethical and dangerously undermines the health of some of the most vulnerable among us.


“Every individual deserves access to quality health care and life saving emergency services. No one should ever be refused medical care because of who they are. It’s clear Republicans still haven’t learned what the 2018 midterm elections mandated -- the American people want more access to health care, not less.”

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Republicans tried to stall by making a clerk read the entire bill aloud. Twice.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from

The House Judiciary Committee passed the Equality Act for the first time in history, sending the bill to the full House for approval.

The Equality Act would, among other things, add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act, guaranteeing federal protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, and other areas.

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While police and court records deadnamed him, his public defender said that he goes by Alec and uses "he" pronouns.
Alex Bollinger
Reposted from

Local media is reporting that one of the suspects in the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting in Colorado is transgender.


On Tuesday, two students at the STEM School opened fire on their classmates, killing one and injuring eight others before they were stopped.

Both of the shooters were taken alive by police and appeared in court yesterday. Devon Erickson, 18, was one of the shooters. The senior has a purple streak in his hair and, according to The Advocate, had a selfie with a rainbow overlay to celebrate pride in his Facebook account.

devon-erickson - the denver post-youtube
Devon Erickson & Lawyer   -   Photo Credit: YouTube/Denver Post
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Bryan T. Clark


I was recently asked during an interview why I wanted to write this book and how did I choose the topic of LGBTQ youth homelessness?  

The truth is, I didn’t pick it, it picked me. I’ve often said in other interviews, “my characters speak to me”. I don’t go looking for them. As I approach the completion of one book, there are times that I have no idea what it is that I’m going to write next, because no characters have come forward and spoken to me yet. Inevitably, by the time I am ready to start the next project, a character has shown up and wants their story told.  

In Escaping Camp Roosevelt, it was Tucker who revealed himself to me first. This naïve young man, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders, caught my attention. At that time, I knew the book was going to be about LGBTQ youth homelessness. His story just came to me and he began to take shape as a young man taking care of his mother and sister, not ever knowing who his father was, and grieving the loss of his dream of playing professional baseball. He is a kid who has suffered disappointment after disappointment and been knocked down many times, yet keeps getting back up and fighting harder.  

Initially, Dancer, the other main character, revealed himself to me more slowly than Tucker. Often times, he remained in the shadows as Tucker’s story unfolded. I knew who Dancer was, but I didn’t know the why of his presence in the story. He is a deeply private, emotionally wounded soul. There was one week during the first draft of the book that he stopped talking to me all together. It was in a pivotable scene in the book, where he was to reveal a part of himself that no one knew. I felt he wasn’t ready to be that vulnerable with me just yet. We worked around his hesitancy and during the third draft of the book, he finally shared with me the true reason for the why of his story.  

Ironically, it was Dancer that got the opening scene in the book. The opening scene with him and Mr. Gerhardt was a deeply emotional scene that really set the tone for this story. Although Dancer revealed his true self to me late in the book, this scene had to come first. It was that important and I really wanted you, as the reader, to understand who he was right from the beginning.  

Why did these two vulnerable guys reveal themselves to me? I believe that, in many ways, their stories mirror many aspects of my own life and the people in it. With this being the case, Escaping Camp Roosevelt was a very hard book to write.  

Why was it hard to write? Well, my first goal is always to entertain you. How does one do that when the very subject matter is dark and unforgiving? As in all of my previous books, I always hope to create something that causes you to pause for a moment and examine the world that I’ve taken you to, a world that is not too far off from reality. Although my books are fiction, they do have elements of truth to them. In Escaping Camp Roosevelt, it brought up many feelings of my brother, who was homeless as a young adult. I know what he had to do to survive. In going deeply into that world, I wanted to go with the idea in mind of not just entertaining you, but also in having an outcome of making a tangible difference in someone’s life.  

To achieve this, I’ve teamed up with Larkin Street Youth Services/Castro Youth Housing Initiative, a LGBTQ youjuth shelter in San Francisco, California. I have pledged to donate 100 % of the royalties from the first year’s sales of the book to benefit homeless LGBTQ youth. The money raised will go directly too their shelter, the Castro Youth Housing Initiative, a two-year transitional housing program for young people between the ages of 18 and 24, who identify as LGBTQ. 

The Dalai Lama once said, “We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.” 

Escaping Camp Roosevelt is one of my attempts to do just that, to leave this world a better place than when I arrived. I hope you will join me on this journey. 


Why call this new museum show Beyond the Cape? Compared to so many other exhibitions around the world about comic books, this original and unconventional take soars beyond just superheroes.


Beyond the Cape! Comics and Contemporary Art shows how some of the most currently sought-after contemporary artists are influenced by graphic novels and comic books.


The artworks in this pioneering show making its world premiere at the Boca Raton Museum of Art take viewers on a deeper dive into adult realms, tackling some of today’s thorniest issues: politics, divisiveness, immigration, racial prejudice, planetary climate armageddon, feminism, LGBTQ rights, religion, gender, and more.



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Daniel Villareal
Reposted from

Yesterday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei announced that his country won’t enforce its newly implemented law punishing gay sex with death by stoning. But while this might sound like good news, it really isn’t nearly enough.

In his statement yesterday, the Sultan said “many questions and misperceptions” remain about the law (uh-huh) and added that his country hasn’t executed anyone for violating common laws in over two decades. How nice.

It seemed unlikely
 that any gay people would actually be stoned to death under the law because it had a “high burden of proof, requiring a confession, or at least four credible witnesses to a criminalized act, [meaning] it won’t be easy to prosecute.”

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Anti-LGBTQ fever persists in Eastern Europe, but Ukrainian authorities upheld order
Matt Tracy
Reposted from

An international lesbian conference in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev April 12-14 was met with a barrage of religious and far-right protestors who held up homophobic signs, tried blocking the venue’s entrance, and even launched tear gas canisters.

The event, however, went on as planned.

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Enlighten Me

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Mark Langfeld


“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sound familiar? It’s a snide comment often heard at work and at home. It’s insensitive and hurtful. It can also cause us to impulsively defend ourselves. When we think we are being unjustly criticized (and let’s face it, we tend to think any criticism against us is unjustified), we typically feel we must justify our behavior. We make excuses and try to explain ourselves. But at what cost?


So, how do you usually defend yourself when someone disapproves of something you did or said? Do you start to argue? How did you learn these protection mechanisms? My guess is you first learned them as a child by watching family members argue. Then over time, the defensive behavior became habituated through conditioning. Now when someone criticizes you, you automatically respond according to a set behavioral pattern.


What are the consequences of those protection mechanisms? When you try to emotionally protect yourself by putting up mental walls, you create a distance between you and others. Those psychological barriers build up over time and before you know it, you feel disconnected and lonely. You might even start to think that no one truly understands you.


There is another down side to defense mechanisms. They can sometimes be used as a form of manipulation. Sure, part of you wants to protect yourself when you are criticized. But isn’t there another part of you that wants to change the other person’s behavior? This is especially true when you use anger as a defense mechanism.


Let’s say you are at work in a meeting and your colleagues are expressing their disapproval of your proposal. You may feel like a cornered animal, and it may seem perfectly natural to verbally lash out. For a time, it may succeed in getting them to back off which gives you a sense of relief. But, that short lived reward only reinforces your hostile behavior. However, is that really the type of person you wish to become--the person with the short fuse that snaps at people and can’t take negative feedback?


Here’s a way to sidestep this type of social landmine: give yourself the approval that you seek from others. It’s called, self-validation. In the privacy of your own mind, silently validate your belief that you are a worthwhile human being deserving of love and respect. When you stop seeking the approval of others, you become more comfortable with yourself. How can anyone make you feel bad about yourself when you have self-acceptance? Do you get embarrassed easily? Well, the best way to overcome the feeling of embarrassment is to accept yourself as an imperfect being. In other words, be humble and no one can make you feel humiliated.


Ok, right now you are probably thinking, “That’s all fine and good, but what can I do when I am being unjustly criticized?” Act assertively, not aggressively. Assertiveness does not step on other's rights. Here is a practical example: when people are upset with you, tell them that you do not understand their reasons. Ask them to explain exactly what you did or said that got them so upset. This way, they need to be specific about your behavior and not just transfer all their past baggage onto you as if you were to blame for all their problems in life. If they continues to verbally abuse you, be assertive and say, “I don’t think I deserve to be spoken to in this manner. I want to be treated with the respect that all humans deserve.”


If you are not assertive, you are inadvertently enabling the aggressive person to continue to be aggressive. At work or at home, the aggressive person has less respect for you because you are not standing up for yourself.


Sometimes, people are afraid to stand up for themselves because they think the aggressive person will get even angrier. And that probably will happen—at least at first. Then, he or she will either adjust to you or simply stop interacting with you. In a romantic relationship, this could mean that the aggressor moves on looking for an easier target. If the aggressive behavior continues, it’s time for you to move on.


In an employment situation, if the aggressive behavior is in violation of any laws or company policies, you have an ethical obligation to report the misconduct. If things are intolerable for you, you may just need to find a more suitable job somewhere else.


Today’s Loving Suggestion: Close your eyes and mentally tell yourself that the desire for approval is not worth defending. Your self-worth, on the other hand, is worth defending. Meditate on the thought that your self-worth cannot be shaken when it is anchored on an inner sense of intrinsic value rather than on being liked by others.


New Wellness

Anchor 6


Here’s a letter to Mayor Pete as Pride season begins. This is my contribution to a healthy America. I guess this is kind of like the letter that outgoing Presidents leave behind in the Oval Office for the incoming Commander-in-Chief. It’s some advice from a guy who has a shared experience with you.  


I also grew up in northern Indiana. I graduated high school as the All-American guy with good grades, scholarships, and a gregarious personality. I attended the local Catholic Church and was active in the youth group. I returned from college and was quickly elected to my hometown city council. 


My family and friends were so proud. I was on my way and was prepared to do what I had always dreamed of doing. A life of public service to my community and country. 


But in 2004, I eventually withdrew from my candidacy for County Commissioner. I had a big secret. I am gay. And most of northern Indiana and the country wasn’t comfortable with gays in public office. I was confronted about being gay. I was crushed and confused about my identity. My career was put on hold. 


And now 15 years later is where you come in Mayor Pete. Your Presidential campaign brings back memories for not just me; but for all the LGBTQ people who took a different path because of their struggles with sexual orientation. You’re going on the odyssey so many of us were never able to take. 


As your campaign moves forward, you will be challenged to fight by more and more people along the trail. They won’t care about the issues. Just that you are gay. There will be many moments to fight back and give them hell.  

But please don’t. Anger and hate begets anger and hate. We have seen enough of that over the last several years.  


God knows so many of us in the LGBTQ community want so badly to see you throw some jabs and give it to them. We have faced an abundance of abuse over so many decades and centuries. Beatings, bullying, and discrimination. It’s only normal to want to punch back.  


But please don’t. Stay focused on the issues. We are better than the hate from these folks. 


Over 72 years ago, Jackie Robinson was the first black player in major league baseball to take the field. It caused a lot of problems and there was a lot of opposition to him being in the game. He was told, “Your enemy will be out in full force. You cannot meet him on his own low ground.” 


Jackie Robinson eventually won over many fans. He was a great ball player and he helped the Dodgers win numerous pennants and a World Series. There’s nothing like talent and results to get people to forget over time why they dislike you. 

Just like Jackie, you have so much talent and so many accomplishments. The people will see this. You too have the ability to get people to forget why they don’t like you. Just keep being you and keep bringing the results. 


Show them that kindness is not conditional and that we only use books to express love for our neighbors. Show them that we are all more than our sexual orientation, our gender, our faith, our ethnicity, our race, our age, or our social class.  


You have a lot of folks behind you. Not just from the LGBTQ community. Not just from the Democrats. You have all those individuals who want to see the guy with the impressive talent and skills overcome the hate and the anger. The true underdog story. That…that right there…is the America we love.   


During this Pride season; I am reminded of a quote from the incomparable artist Frida Kahlo. She said, “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” So that’s where I will leave it Mayor Pete. Keep on painting. 

This article of wellness is brought to you by that guy of love, love, love. That guy on a Magical Mystery Tour is Ron Blake and all you need is love to send him a message at


Uncle Barbie

Anchor 7

Your Intellectual Whore
"An effervescently gay
advice columnist."


Disclaimer: Although the author of this syndicated column holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, the tongue-in-cheek advice given is for entertainment only and is not a substitute for therapy. Barbie responds to all emails...whether you deserve it or not. Send your questions to Uncle Barbie at:



Dear Uncle Barbie,

I have a friend who is driving me crazy! She is one of those people whose life reads like a woefully bad novel. She claims that she has been depressed her whole life. It’s not that her life is really all that bad; it’s more that she interprets every event in her life as a negative, and she is not shy about sharing her misery. She keeps rehashing the past, and her stories never change. For instance, she forever tells me that she could have been a famous ballet dancer if her parents would have only bought her ballet slippers when she was a child. I’ve spent the past 30 years listening to her whine about her life, and frankly, I’ve reached the end of my patience with her. I have tried to help, but she just never DOES anything to change. In fact, I think she prefers whining to changing her life. She doesn’t ask how I am or what I am doing. Instead, she only talks about her problems. I’m ready to chuck our friendship, but worry that I will feel guilty for doing so. HELP!

Signed, Tired of Whiney Friend


Hello Whiner,

Isn’t it interesting that you are whining about someone else’s whining. Perhaps you have more in common with your friend than you realize. Let’s start off examining your role in this scenario, and then we will take a look at your friend. The codependent relationship that you have with your friend is one that reeks of self-deception. You are playing the role of the enabler by allowing her to continue being dependent on you. I strongly agree with you that it is time to cut the apron strings, and let her be a little more self-reliant. It is fine to be a caregiver to people who are not able to care for themselves. However, you sound like a martyr who has depleted her energies and sacrificed herself in the line of duty. (A duty that is so strong that you fear you will feel guilty if you stop playing that role.) Do you have a savior complex or something? I admit that it can feel good to be the rescuer because it makes a person feel important--just don’t go overboard.


Okay, now let’s tackle this pathetic friend of yours. What a drama queen. Her life is like reality TV without the set. I find it disappointing that she only wants you to listen to her problems, and is unwilling to reciprocate by listening to your problems. The best advice I can give her (or anyone else who wants to alleviate his/her depression) is to help someone else. Whenever I get depressed (as we all sometimes do), I will do an act of kindness for a fellow human being. This does not have to be a huge display of generosity. All you really need to do is something simple like hold the door open for someone, or give a pleasant smile to the cashier who is serving you. Change the way you view the situation. It’s not a problem; it’s a challenge. It’s not a permanent crisis; it’s a temporary setback. It’s not a personal flaw of character; it’s an area for improvement. Go out and volunteer somewhere. Giving of yourself does not have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as donating some of your used household items to Goodwill, caring for a pet, showing respect for Mother Nature by recycling, etc.


People who are depressed need to resist the temptation to withdraw from social interaction. Staying in bed feeling sorry for themselves and avoiding their problems will only cause them to go deeper into despair. Depression can be a very self-centered experience because people in this state of mind focus on their problems and their misery. They seldom think of how they can help others. For many years as a therapist, I have counseled people with depression, and I have heard all the excuses and justifications for why they don’t follow my suggestions. “I don’t have the time. I don’t have the energy. I can’t…I can’t--bitch, bitch, bitch.” All their pissing and moaning gets them nowhere. If they would only take the energy that they use fighting my help, and instead apply that same level of energy toward their treatment, they would be well on their way to a happier life. But unfortunately, they keep track of all their hurts and injuries like trophies. As they would impart their painful stories to me, I was struck by how these depressed individuals would use their emotional injuries like a calendar to mark the milestones in their lives. Remembering their wounds was literally how they recorded the passage of time.


Whenever you are dealing with someone (like your friend) who resists getting better, you need to address the motivation behind the resistance. Consider the possibility of secondary gains. By this, I mean that maybe the troubled person is receiving some kind of emotional reward for being in her current situation. For example, it is conceivable that the feel-good sympathy that she is receiving from friends and family is reinforcing her passive behavior to stay sick. Now, this brings us back to the topics of codependency and enabling behavior. (I believe we discussed your codependent behavior earlier in this article.) Looks like we have come full circle. Perhaps this would be a good place to stop.

Festively Disturbing, Barbie



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Astrology Map

ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
You are ready for some kind of change in your life and you are going to make it happen. A lot of pressure going on.

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
You are feeling like a new person and ready for that makeover. You are going to help out a friend here who is in need.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)
You are really into yourself during this period. Use this time to make sure all of your ducks are in a row. Good time to spend by yourself here. 

CANCER (June 21 - July 22) 
Wow. No more surprises. Problem solved. Now put all of that energy to good use and pamper yourself.

LEO (Jul 23 - Aug 22) 
Feeling magnetic. A lot of people are vying for your attention and you love it. Indulge yourself and pat others on the back. They will just purr. 

VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22) 
Work. Work. Work. Spend. Spend. Spend. Opportunity will present itself so calm down and let life happen.

LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22) 
Work is pulling you in one way and others are pulling ou in another direction. Very stressful. You need to self examine what's going on before you become negative about everything. 

SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21) 
You are just sailing right along when little problems pop up out of the blue. You handle it all very well and are very relaxed about life. 

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21) 
Happy. Happy. Happy. You are enjoying the interaction with others and are easy to express yourself and make decisions with ease. 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19) 
You are beginning to see the fruits of your hard work, some opposition but that doesn't slow you down. You are doing your own thing and that makes you happy. 

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18) 
A lot of socializing going on. You may have to watch your spending as the money will run out this month. You have a lot of compassion for others here.

PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20) 
Money seems to flow a little easier for you now. Your spending it but don't seem to run low. Pamper youself and forget about impressing others for now. 


Not To Be Missed

Anchor 9

Jennifer Lopez

LA, San Jose

Jennifer Lopez will be in Los Angeles on June 7 and 8, 2019, at 8:00 PM, for her “It’s my Party” tour! She will be in San Jose, at the SAP Center, on June 13 and 14. Lopez is an American actress, singer, dancer, and producer. She has produced countless records and

performed countless tours! Lopez’ LA event will take place at The Forum, located at 3900 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90305. Tickets for this event start at $65 and go up! For tickets, go to For tickets for the San Jose concert, go to your favorite ticket seller, such as Ticket Master or Vivid Seats.


LA Pride Parade


The 2019 LA Pride Parade will happen on Sunday, June 9, 2019, from 11 AM to 2 PM, on Santa Monica Blvd, in West Hollywood, between Fairfax and Downey Streets. Their theme this year is #JUSTUNITE. Be sure to arrive early to get a great spot along the parade route! The parade is free to attend! The LA Pride Festival, located in West Hollywood, at the West Hollywood Park (Along San Vicente Blvd between Melrose and Santa Monica Blvd), will take place June 8-9 from 12 PM to 1 AM! General Admission for the Festival is $30. For more information, go to

Alanis Morissette

Saratoga/San Jose

Alanis Morissette will perform at The Mountain Winery, in Saratoga (near San Jose), on June 20, 2019, at 7:30 PM. Morissette is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, producer, and actress. She is probably best known for her album, “Jagged Little Pill,” that came out in 1995. The Mountain Winery is located at 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga, CA, 95070. Tickets for this event start at $135. For tickets, go to or your favorite ticket seller!




San Francisco Pride


The San Francisco LGBT Parade and Celebration will take place on June 29 and 30, in San Francisco. The Celebration starts on Saturday, June 29, in Civic Center Plaza, in downtown San Francisco, from noon to 6:00 PM. It continues on Sunday, June 30, from 11 AM to 6:00 PM. Donations for the Celebration are $1 to $5. The parade, which takes place on Sunday morning, June 30, at 10:30 AM, goes along Market Street from the Embarcadero to the Civic Center. The theme of Pride this year is “Generations of Resistance.” For more information, go to

Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival


June 1, 2019, marks the date of the 29th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival! Information about this event should be all over the current edition of this electronic news site! The parade starts at 10 AM. The festival starts at 11 AM! Everybody who is anybody should be attending this annual event! The parade is free to watch! Tickets for the festival are $5 at the gate! We’ll see y’all there!

Dwight Yoakam


Dwight Yoakam will perform at the Visalia Fox Theatre at 8:00 PM, on Friday, June 14, 2019. If you’re a country western fan, you may want to take the short drive to Visalia to see Yoakam. He is probably best known for his single, “Suspicious Minds,” which he recorded in 1995. The Visalia Fox theatre is located at 308 W. Main Street, Visalia, CA, 93291. Tickets for this event start at $69. For tickets, go to, or your favorite ticket seller



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Anchor 11

Contact Us

P O Box 4959, Fresno, CA 93744  |  Tel: 559-266-5465

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News and happenings for, by, about and affecting the LGBT Valley.
Project of Community Link, Inc: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Service Organization. 
EST. September 1995

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